Recent Construction Legislation and Cases

Court rules that a person’s submission of expert reports and testimony on alleged stormwater management negligence claims did not violate North Carolina’s statutory prohibition against the unlicensed practice of engineering.

In Nutt v. Andrew L. Ritter, in his official capacity as Executive Director of the North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors, et al, 2023 WL 9067799 (E.D.N.C.  December 20, 2023), the Court found that an individual not licensed as an engineer did not run afoul of North Carolina’s prohibition against the unlicensed practice  … Continue Reading

General Contractor Licensing Threshold Changed

Effective October 1, 2023, the threshold cost of the undertaking to trigger the requirement to possess a general contractor license will change from $30,000 to $40,000. 2023 NC Sess. Laws 108. This legislation  also increased the trigger amount for the appointment of a lien agent in N.C. Gen. Stat. Chapter 44A.

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NC Construction Law Information

Below are some of the North Carolina statutes affecting the construction industry.  The links provided are to the NC General Statutes as codified by the North Carolina General Assembly and are current only as of the date the General Assembly most recently updated their website.  The links and information provided here is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.    


On most public projects in North Carolina, the contractor is required to procure appropriate bonds.

  • Bid bond: Bid security in the form of a cash deposit or a bid bond must accompany most formal bids on public works in an amount of not less than 5% of the bid. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 143-129(b)
  • Payment bond: On most public projects, payment bonds in the amount of 100% of the construction contract are required to be posted. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 44A-26(a)(2)
  • Performance bond: On most public projects, performance bonds in the amount of 100% of the construction contract are required to be posted. This bond is solely for the benefit of the contracting body. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 44A-26(a)(1)

Choice of Law / Forum Selection Provisions

  • Choice of law provision: Provisions in any contract, subcontract or purchase order for the improvement of real property in North Carolina that purport to make the contract, subcontract or purchase order subject to the laws of another state are against the public policy of North Carolina and are void. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 22B-2
  • Forum selection provision: Provisions in contracts entered into in North Carolina that require the prosecution of any action or the arbitration of any dispute that arises from the contract to be instituted or heard in another state is against the public policy of North Carolina and is void and unenforceable. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 22B-3 ; N.C. Gen. Stat. § 22B-2


Construction contract provisions that attempt to provide for indemnification for damages caused by or resulting from the negligence, in whole or in part, of the indemnitee are unenforceable. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 22B-1

Licensing Laws

North Carolina regulates the practice of contractors and construction professionals through licensing statutes and regulations.

Mechanic’s Liens

Claims of lien on real property and claims of lien upon funds are subject to very specialized requirements. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 44A-7 – § 44A-24


On public construction projects, contractual provisions in prime contracts that purport to bar or limit compensable damages for delays caused solely by the owner or its agent are not enforceable. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 143-134.3

Pass-Through Claim

On public construction projects, a prime contractor may file an action against the owner on behalf of a subcontractor. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 143-134.2


Payments to contractors and subcontractors are statutorily regulated on all projects.

  • Prompt pay to contractor: On public projects, if the owner fails to tender payment to the prime contractor within 45 days of certain milestone events, interest at 12% per annum accrues on the amount owed. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 143-134.1
  • Prompt pay to subcontractors: On public projects, and on most private projects, if the prime contractor fails to tender payment to the subcontractors with 7 days of receipt of payment from the owner, interest at 12% per annum accrues on the amounts owed. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 143-134.1 ; N.C. Gen. Stat. § 22C-5
  • Pay-if-paid: Pay-if-paid subcontract provisions are unenforceable in North Carolina. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 22C-2

Public Bidding

Competitive bidding is required on most state and local public construction projects in North Carolina.

  • Formal bidding: On most state and local public construction projects, formal bidding is required. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 143-129
  • Construction methods: On most state and local public construction projects, contracts are put out for bid and awarded under one of the following methods: (1) multi-prime, (2) single-prime, (3) dual bidding—accepting both multi-prime and single-prime bids, (4) construction management at risk, (5) design-build, (6) design-build bridging, (7) public-private partnership or (8) alternative contracting method upon approval of the State Building Commission. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 143-128(a1)
  • Withdrawal of bid: Formal bids may be withdrawn prior to bid opening without forfeiture of bid security. After bid opening, formal bids may be withdrawn in only limited circumstances. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 143-129.1
  • Informal bidding: Local governments may use informal bid procedures on small construction projects. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 143-131
  • Bid protest: North Carolina does not have a formal bid protest procedure.
  • MBE/WBE: Public construction projects subject to competitive bidding are also subject to special minority business participation requirements stated as verifiable goals. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 143-128.2
  • Mediated Settlement Conferences: Most non-NCDOT public construction projects in North Carolina are subject to special rules for Mediated Settlement Conferences set forth by the State Construction Office. NC Admin Code Chapter 30, Subchapter 30H

Statutes of Limitation and Repose

North Carolina statutes contain numerous time limitations within which actions must be commenced.

  • Contract actions: An action on a contract, express or implied, must be commenced within three years from the breach. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-52(1)
  • Contract actions under UCC: An action for breach of contract for the sale of goods under the Uniform Commercial Code must be commenced within four years from the breach. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 25-2-725
  • Action against land surveyor: An action against a registered land surveyor must be commenced within three years. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-52(18)
  • Action against local government: An action against a unit of local government upon a contract must be commenced within two years from accrual of the action. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-53(1)
  • Improvement to real property: An action arising out of the defective or unsafe condition of an improvement to real property shall not be brought more than six years (statute of repose) from the later of the specific last act or omission of the defendant giving rise to the cause of action or substantial completion. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-50(a)(5); N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-50(f) (three year statute of limitation)
  • Mechanic’s lien: A claim of lien on real property must be filed within 120 days of the claimant’s last furnishing of labor or materials, and the action to enforce the lien must be commenced within 180 days of the claimant’s last furnishing of labor or materials. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 44A-12(b) ; N.C. Gen. Stat. § 44A-13(a)
  • Payment bond: An action on a public works payment bond must be brought no later than one year from the day on which the last of the labor was performed or material furnished by the claimant or one year from the day on which final settlement was made with the contractor, whichever is longer. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 44A-28